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More Than 22K Black And Brown Chicago Children Are Homeless

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Homeless children in Chicago public schools are on the rise according to the latest end-of-the-year count. www.naturallymoi.com

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Reported by Andrew Scot Bolsinger

Homeless children in Chicago public schools are on the rise, according to the latest end-of-the-year count.

The number of those considered homeless in the 2013-14 school year jumped by nearly 3,500 from the year before, according to a story in Chicago Defender News. These statistics don’t include the number of homeless children who are not attending school.

The 2013-14 academic school year had 22,144 homeless students, compared to the year before where there were 18,669. The final end-of-the-year count is still pending, but so far, that is an 18.6 percent increase, the story stated. The vast majority of these kids are minorities, according to homeless advocates.

National Runaway Safeline Executive Director Maureen Blaha told the Chicago Tribune that the number of youths in Illinois contacting the hotline has steadily increased over the past three years, with an increasing number saying they are homeless.

But in Chicago, 85 percent of the homeless students were youths of color, according to Anne Bowhay, spokeswoman at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Patricia Nix-Hodes, director of the Law Project at the organization, attributes the rise to several factors: “We are looking at effects of foreclosures, job loss, people losing housing and being able to maintain it,” the Chicago Defender reported.

African-Americans were hit hard by the foreclosure housing crisis in the country and have less access to resources to keep their homes. Illinois ranked among the top five states with the highest foreclosure rates in 2013, according to Realty Trac.

Chicago was No. 3 of the top 20 metro areas facing foreclosures.

“Homeless youths are incredibly vulnerable to being victims of trafficking or participating in illicit activities in order to survive. Some do stay in school, usually under the care of a guardian or family friends, if they are not with their parents. But most homeless youths stay hidden and under the radar. This makes it difficult for advocates and officials to reach them to provide resources and assistance,” blogger S.C. Rhyne wrote. 

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Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operateswww.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at Andrew.Bolsinger@gmail.com and can be followed @CriminalUniv on Twitter.